The State of Supply Chain Analytics

August 11, 2015 Ken Klaver

freight audit. ControlPay

According to a recent study performed by QLIK and Supply Chain Digest (SCDigest),  the majority of today’s supply chain analytics are “looking in the rearview mirror” when it comes to evaluating performance, but realize the potential value of adopting advanced analytics.

What does it mean to become a digital business or digital supply chain? There is not yet really an accepted definition, yet, but we know what the key components are: mobility, the Internet of Things, visibility, the Cloud, Big Data – and the ability to better leverage the information the company often already has for insights, analytics, internal and external collaboration, improved decision-making and more. 

Therefore, the greatest advantage of the digital era seems to be the possibility to easily collect and analyze data. This data, if properly used, can lead to better decision-making and improvement of the supply chain. 

“Despite early stages of maturity, companies see significant potential from improvements in data management and analysis,” said Dan Gilmore, President and Editor in Chief at SCDigest. “Not surprisingly, improved supply chain decision-making tops that list, while similarly becoming more ‘forward looking’ was the number one opportunity identified by respondents from improved data management and analytics.”

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More than 40 percent of respondents said they are still almost exclusively backward-looking when it comes to data analysis. However the vast majority expressed the belief that predictive analytics would bring value to users enabling them to leverage data at the point of decision. Additionally, more than 88 percent of respondents ranked advanced analytic capabilities as an outstanding or good opportunity for their organization. Respondents also noted that making improvements in data and analytic capabilities was either a high priority or something they were already focused on doing.

The study revealed that while companies are realizing the value and urgency of implementing advanced analytics, FEW feel that they are where they need to be. When evaluating their own current capabilities generally less than ten percent felt that they had high levels of user system flexibility and empowerment, data visualisation and supply chain risk management capabilities.

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Priority of Making Improvements in Data & Analytic Capabilities

Respondents made it very clear that improvements in this area are a very high supply chain priority. Almost 44% of respondents said such improvements were a “high priority,” while another 16% said their companies were “already doing it” in terms of building advanced data and analytic capabilities – some 60% combined between the two responses. Just 3.6% of respondents said such improvements were a low priority. 

Responses came from a wide variety of roles within the supply chain, both traditional operations-related positions, as well as some from supply chain IT. There was also a wide mix of industries, but the top five were from consumer goods companies (19.3%), followed by automotive, industrial or aerospace (15.2%), transportation and logistics (9.6%), high tech/consumer electronics (8.1%), and retail (6.1%). Responses from many other industries, such as chemicals, medical devices, pharma/bio-tech, wholesalers, utilities and more, were obtained.

Almost 58% of respondents were from the Americas, primarily the US, but more than 42% were from outside of Americas, split between the EMEA region (19.2% of the total population) and Asia-Pac (22.8%). Download the full report.

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